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Saskatoon’s Rock Your Roots walk a step forward in reconciliation

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WATCH ABOVE: Community leaders say this walk is just the first step in reconciliation. – Jun 21, 2019

Community leaders are calling the Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation a step in helping Saskatoon bring forward the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

The event was put on by Reconciliation Saskatoon – an initiative of 98 different groups – to get the entire city in a conversation about bridging the gap.

“Some of them are wanting to move forward to solve some unfortunate situations and work together. And that’s a good sign,” Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand said.

READ MORE: Bridging the gap in economic reconciliation in Saskatchewan

The walk falls on National Indigenous Peoples Day and honours survivors of the ’60s Scoop, residential schools and families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

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“(It) stands for the change that is happening and the change that will come in the future,” Central Urban Metis Federation Inc. president Shirley Isbister said.

This is the fourth annual Rock Your Roots walk and this year’s theme is reigniting the flame, noting we all have an individual role to play in reconciliation.

A number of different groups held performances along the route.

Organizers asked walkers to wear or bring items showing their culture and heritage.

READ MORE: Saskatoon bus shelter art project inspired by Indigenous history, values

Saskatoon Police Service sees this as a chance to openly share and speak with a number of different groups about their relationships.

This is not just a police function. This is an opportunity for us to meet with people of all nationalities, people from the community and to connect. And to connect as community members and not in some enforcement capacity,” police Chief Troy Cooper said.

Arcand views the walk as a learning experience for Saskatoon’s youth.

“Our young people can change the world and they can change everything by changing the systems that have been negative to people. And at the end of the day, those are the ones that we really want to impact so we can make a difference in moving forward,” he said.

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He hopes these kinds of events can lead to meaningful dialogue about the next steps in reconciliation.

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